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The Lieber Code Of 1863 


The Lieber Code of 1863 

O.R-SERIES lll-VOLUME III [Stt 124] 


Washington, April 24, 1863. 

The following "Instructions for the Government of Amies of the United States in the Field," prepared by Francis Lieber, LL.D., and 
revised by a board of otEcers, of which Maj. Gea E. A Hitchcock is president, having been approved by the President of the United 
States, he conmands that they be published for the information of all concerned. 

By order of the Secretary of War: 

Assistant Adjutant-General. 


sscTKMi-Martial law—Mlitary jurisdiction— Mlitary necessity—Retaliation. 

1 . A place, district, or country occupied by an enerr^ stands, in consequence of the occupation, under the martial law of the invading 
or occupying arm/, whether any proclamation declaring martial law, or any public warning to the inhabitants, has been issued or not. Martial 
law is the immediate and direct eiiect and consequeixie of occipation or conquest. 

The presence of a hostile amy proclaims its martial law. 

2. Martial law does not cease during the hostile occupation, except by special proclamation, ordered by the commander- in-chielj or 
by special mention in tiie treaty of peace concluding the war, when the occipation of a place or territory continues beyond the conclusbn of 
peace as one of the conditions of the same. 

3 . Martial law in a hostile country consists in the suspensbn by the occupying military authority of the criminal and civil law, and of the 
domestic administration and government in the occupied place or territory, and in the substitution of military rule and force for the same, as 
well as in the dictation of gpneral laws, as fer as military necessity requires this suspensbn, substitution, or dictation 

The commander of the forces may proclaim that the administration of all civil and penal law shall continue either wholfy or in part, as in 
times of peace, unless otherwise ordered by the military authority. 

4. Martial law is sinpfy military authority exercised in accordance with the laws and usa^s of war. Military oppression is not martial 
law, it is the abuse of the power wMch that law confers. As martial law is executed by militaiy force, it is incunbent ipon those who 
administer it to be strictly guided by the principles of justice, honor, and humanily~virtues adorning a soldier even more than other men, for 
the very reason that he possesses the power of his arms a^inst the unarmed. 

5 . Martial law should be less strin^nt in places and countries Msy occupied and iairfy conquered. Much greater severity may be 
exercised in places or regbns where actual hostilities exist or are expected and rrust be prepared for. Its most conpfete sway is albwed— 
even in the comnander's own country— when lace to lace with the enerry, because of the absolute necessities of the case, and of the 
paramount duty to defend the country a^inst invasion 

To save the counhy is paramount to all other considerations. 

6. All civil and penal law shall continue to take its usual course in flie enen^'s places and territories under martial law, unless 

interrupted or stopped by order of the occupying military power; but all the fimctions of the hostile government— legislative, executive, or 
administrative— whether of a general, provincial, or bcal character, cease under martial law, or continue onfy with the sanction, or, if 
deemed necessary, the particpation of the occupier or invader. 

7. Martial law extends to property, and to persons, whether they are subjects of the eneny or aliens to that government. 

8. Consuls, among American and European nations, are not diplomatic agents. Nevertheless, their offices and persons will be 
subjected to martial law in cases of ur^nt necessity onfy; their property and business are not exempted. Any delinquency they commit 
against the established military rule may be punished as in the case of ary other inhabitant, and such punishment fijmishes rx) reasonable 
ground for international complaint. 

9. The fijnctions of arrbassadors, ministers, or other d5)bmatic agpnts, accredited by neutral powers to the hostile government, cease, 
so fer as regards the displaced government; but the coiK[iKring or occupying power usua% recognizes them as tenporari^ accredited to 

1 0. Martial law affects chieify the police and collection of public revenue and taxes, whether imposed by the expelled gDvemment or 
by the invader, and refers main^ to the support and ei3bierx;y of the Ana/, its safety, and the safety of its operations. 

1 1 . The law of war does not on^ disclaim all entity and bad Mh concerning engagements concluded with the enen^f during the war, 
but also the breaking of stipulations solemn^ contracted by the beDi^rents in time of peace, and avowedfy inteixied to remain in force in 
case of war between the coitocting powers. 

It disclaims all extortions and other transactions for individual gain; all acts of private revenge, or connivance at such acts. 
Offenses to the contrary shall be severely punished, and especially so if committed by otBcers. 

12. WhetKver feasible, martial law is carried out in cases of individual oflenders by military courts; but sertences of death shall be 
executed on^ with the approval of the chief executive, provided the urgency of the case does not require a speedier execution, and then 
onfy with the approval of the chfef commander. 

13. Militaryjurisdictbn is oftwo kinds: First, that wttch is conferred and defined by statute; second, that whbh is derived from the 
common law of war. Military otfenses under the statute law mist be tried in the manner therein directed; but mililary oflenses which do ix)t 
come within the statute irust be tried and punished under the comnon law of war. The character of the courts which exercise these 
jurisdictions depends uponftie local laws of each particular country. 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


In the amies of the United States the iirst is exercised by courts-martial; while cases which do not come within the Rules and Articles 
of War, or the jurisdiction conferred by statute on courts-martial, are tried by military commissbns. 

14. Military necessity, as underetood by modem civilized nations, consists in the necessity of those measures which are indispensable 
for securing the ends of ftie war, and v/bkh are kwfiil according to the modem law and usages of war. 

15. Military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or lirrb of anxed enemies, and of other pereons whose destruction is 
incidental^ unavoidable in the armed contests of the war; it aflows of the capturing of every armed enen^^, and every eneny of importance 
to the hostile government, or of peculiar dan^ to the captor; it albws of all destruction of property, and obstruction of the ways and 
charmeLs of traffic, travel, or conminication, and of aH withholding of sustenance or means of life Irom the cncnr/; of the appropriation of 
whatever an ensm/s country aflbrds necessary for the subsistence and safety of the Am^^, and of such deception as does not involve the 
breaking of good Mh either positive^ pled^d, regarding agreements entered into during the war, or supposed by the modem law of war 
to exist. Men who take vp arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one 
another and to Ciod. 

16. Military necessity does not admit of cruelty~tlKit is, the infliction of suffering for the sake of suffering or for revenge, nor of 
maiming or wounding except in fight, nor of torture to extort confessions. It does not admit of the use of poison in any way, nor of the 
wanton devastation of a district. It admits of deception, but disclaims acts of perfidy; and, in ^neral, nililary necessity does not include ar^ 
act of hostility which makes the retum to peace umccessari^ difficult. 

1 7. War is not carried on by arms abne. It is lawful to starve the hostile belligerent, armed or unarmed, so that it leads to the speedier 
subjection of the enemy. 

1 8. When a commander of a besie^d place expels the non-corrbatants, in order to lessen the number of those who consume his 
stock of provisions, it is lawful, thou^ an extreme measure, to drive them back, so as to hasten on the surrender. 

19. Commanders, wtenever admissible, inform the enenyoftheir intention to bonbard a place, so that the non-conbatants, and 
especially the women and children, may be removed before the borrbardment conmences. But it is no infraction of the common law of war 
to omit thus to inform the eneny. Surprise may be a necessity. 

20. Public war is a state of armed hostility between sovereign nations or governments. It is a law and requisite of civilized existence 
that men live in political, continuous societies, forming organized units, called states or nations, whose constituents bear, enjoy, and sufe, 
advance and retrograde together, in peace and in war. 

2 1 . The citizen or native of a hostile country is thus an enen^^, as one of the constituents of the hostile state or nation, and as such is 
subjected to the hardships of the war. 

22. Neverftieless, as civilization has advanced during the last centuries, so has likewise steadify advanced, especially in war on land, 
the distinction between the private individual bebnging to a hostile country and the hostile country itseU^ with its men in arms. The principle 
has been more and more acknowledged that the unarmed citizen is to be spared in person, property, and honor as rruch as the exigpncies 
ofwarwffl admit. 

23. Private citizens arc no longer niirdcred, enslaved, or carried off to distant parts, and the inofFciisive individual is as little disturbed 
in his private relations as the commander of the hostile troops can afford to grant in the overruling demands of a vigjrous war. 

24. The almost universal rule in remote times was, and continues to be with barbarous armies, that the private individual of the hostile 
country is destined to suffer every privation of liberty and protection and every disruption of %miy ties. Protection was, and still is with 

uncivilized people, the exception 

25. In modem regular wars of the Europeans and their descendants in other portions of the gbbe, protection of the inoffensive citizen 
of the hostile countiy Ls the rule; privation and disturbance of private relations are the exceptions. 

26. Commanding ^nerals may cause the magistrates and civil officers of the hostile country to take the oath of temporary allegiance or 
an oath of fidelity to their own victorbus gavemment or rulers, and they may expel every one who declines to do so. But whether they do 
so or not, the peopb and their civil officers owe strict obedience to them as bng as they hold sway over the district or country, at the peril 
of their Sves. 

27. The law of war can no more wholly dispense with retaliation than can the law of nations, of which it is a branch Yet civilized 
nations acknowled^ retaliation as the sternest feature of war. A reckless enert^ often leaves to his opponent no other means of securing 
himself against the repetition of barbarous outra^. 

28. Retaliation will therefore never be resorted to as a measure of mere revenge, but oriy as a means of protective retribution, and 
moreover cautiousfy and unavoidabfy—that is to say, retaliation shall on^ be resorted to after carefiil inquiry into the real occurrence and the 
character of the misdeeds that may demand retributbtt 

Unjust or inconsiderate retaliation removes the belli^rents farther and firther fixjmthe miti^ting rules of regular war, and by rapid 
steps leads them nearer to the internecine wars of sava^s. 

29. Modem times are distinguished 6om earlier ages by the existence at one and the same time of many nations and great governments 
related to ore another in cbse intercourse. 

Peace is their normal condition; war is the exception The ultimate object of all modem war is a renewed state of peace. 
The more vigorously wars are pursued the better it is for humanity. Sharp wars are brief 

30. Ever since the formation and coexistence of modem nations, and ever since wars have become great national wars, war has come 
to be acknowled^ not to be its own end, but the means to obtain great ends of state, or to consist in defense against wrong and no 
conventional restriction of the modes adopted to injure the enerr5^ is any lon^ admitted; but the law of war imposes many limitations and 
restrictions on principles of justice, faith, and honor. 

SECTION il-PmMc and private property of the enemy— Protection of persons, and especially of women; of religion, the arts and 
sciences—Punishment of crimes against the inhabitants of hostile countries. 

3 1 . A victorbus arm/ appropriates all public money, seizes all pubic movable property until further direction by its government, and 
sequesters for its own benefit or of that of its government all the revenues of real property belonging to the hostile government or natbtt The 
title to such real property remains in abeyance during military occupation, and until the conquest is made complete. 

32. A victorious am^, by the martial power inherent in the same, may suspend, change, or abolish, as far as the martial power 
extends, the relations wttch arise fixjmthe services due, according to the existing laws of the invaded country, fiomone citizen, subject, or 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


native of the same to another. 

The commander of the am^^ must leave it to the idtinate treaty of peace to settle the permanency of this change. 

33. It is no bn^ considered lawfiil-- on the contrary, it is held to be a serious breach of tte law of war— to ferce the subjects of the 
eneny into ftie service of the victDrious government, except the latter should proclaim, after a feir and complete conquest of the hostile 
country or district, that it is resolved to keep the country, district, or place permanent^ as its own and make it a portion of its own country. 

34. As a general rule, the property bebnging to churches, to hospitals, or other establishments of an exclusive^ charitable character, 
to establishments of education, or foundations for the promotion of knowied^, wtether public schools, universities, academies of leaming 
or observatories, museums of the fine arts, or of a scientific character- such property is not to be considered public property in the sense of 
paragraph 3 1 ; but it may be taxed or used when the public service may require it. 

35. Classical works of art, libraries, scientific collections, orprecbus instruments, such as astroiwmical telescopes, as well as 
hospitals, must be secured a^inst all avoidable injury, even when they are contained in fortified places whil st besieged or borrbarded. 

36. If such works of art, libraries, collections, or instruments belonging to a hostile nation or government, can be removed without 
injury, the ruler of the conquering state or nation may order them to be seized and removed for the benefit of the said nation The ultimate 
ownership is to be settled by the ensuing treaty of peace. 

In no case shall they be sold or given away, if captured by the armies of the United States, nor shall they ever be privately 
appropriated, or wanton^ destroyed or injured. 

37. The United States acknowledge and protect, in hostile countries occipied by them, religbn and morality, strict^ private property, 
the persons of flie inhabitants, especial^ those of women; and the sacredness of domestic relations. Ofienses to the contrary shall be 
rigorously punished. 

This rule does rxjt interfere with the ri^ of the victorious invader to tax the people or their property, to levy forced loans, to billet 
soldiers, or to appropriate property, especial^ houses, lands, boats or shps, and the churches, for temporary and militaiy uses. 

3 8 . Private property, unless forfeited by crimes or by ofienses of the owner, can be seized oriy by way of military necessity, for the 
support or other benefit of the Am^ or of the United States. 

If the owner has not fled, the commanding oflfcer wl cause recepts to be given, which may serve the spoliated owner to obtain 

39. The salaries of civil oflicers of the hostile government who remain in the invaded territory, and continue the work of their oflice, 
and can continue it according to the circumstances arising out of the war—such as jud^s, administrative or political oflfcers, oflicers of city 
or comrmnal governments—are paid fiom the public revenue of the invaded territory until the mililary government has reason wholfy or 
partial^ to discontinue it. Salaries or incoriEs connected with purely honorary titles are always stopped. 

40. There exists no law or body of authoritative rules of action between hostife armies, except that branch of the law of nature and 
nations which is called the law and usages of war on land. 

4 1 . All nxttiicipal law of the ground on v^ttch the armies stand, or of flie countries to \^ttch they bebng, is silent and of no eflEect 
between armies in the field. 

42. Slavery, complicating arxl confounding the ideas of property (that is, of a thing), and of personality (that is, of humanity), exists 
according to imricipal or local law onfy. The law of nature and nations has never acknowledged it. Ibe digest of the Roman law enacts the 
ear^ dictum of the pa^n jurist, that "so fer as the law of nature is concemed, all men are equal " Fugitives escaping fi'om a country in which 
they were slaves, villains, or serfe, into armther country, have, for centuries past, been heM fi^ee and acknowled^d fi^ee by judicial decisions 
of European countries, even though the rmnicpal law of the country in whfch the slave had taken refij^ acknowledged slavery within its 
own dominions. 

43. Therefore, in a war between the United States and a belli^rent which admits of slavery, if a person held in bondage by that 
belli^rent be captured by or come as a fugitive under the protection of the military forces of the United States, such person is immediateby' 
entitled to the ri^ls and privileges of a fieemaa To return such person into slavery would amount to enslaving a &ee person, and neither the 
United States nor any oflScer under their autiiority can enslave any human being Moreover, a person so made fiee by the law of war is 
under the shield of the law of nations, and the former owner or State can have, by the law of postliminy, no beHi^rent lien or claim of 

44. All wanton vblence committed against persons in the invaded country, all destruction of property ix)t commanded by flie 

authorized oflicer, all robbery, all pillage or sacking, even afier taking a place by main force, all rape, wounding, maiming, or Idling of such 
inhabitants, are prohibited under the penally of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense. 

A soldier, oflScer, or private, in the act of committing such vblence, and disobeying a superior ordering him to abstain fiwm it, may be 
kwfijlfy killed on the spot by such superior. 

45. All captures and booty bebng, according to the modem law of war, primarify to the government of the captor. 
Prize money, whether on sea or land, can now only be claimed under bcal law. 

46. Neither oflScers nor soldiers are aflowed to make use of their position or power in the hostile country for private gain, not even for 
commercial transactions otherwise legitimate. Oflfenses to the contrary committed by commissbned oflScers will be punished with cashiering 
or such other punishment as the nature of the oifense may require; ifby soldiers, they shall be punished according to the nature of the 

47. Crimes punishable by all penal codes, such as arson, nurder, rraiming, assaults, hi^way robbery, theft, burglary, fiaud, for^ry, 
and rape, if committed by an American soldier in a hostile country against its inhabitants, are not on^punishabb as at home, but in all cases 
in whbh death is not inflbted the severer punishment shall be preferred. 

sscncMm.— Deserters— Prisoners of war—Hostages— Booty on the battle-field 

48. Deserters from the American Anry, having entered the service of the enerr^, suffer death if they M a^in into the hands of the 
United States, whether by capture or being delivered up to the American Arrry, and if a deserter from the enen^, having taken servce in 
the Amy of the United States, is captured by the eneny, and punished by them with death or otherwise, it is iwt a breach against the law 
and usages of war, requiring redress or retaliation 

49. A prisoner of war is a publb eneny armed or attached to the hostile amy for active aid, who has Men into the hands of the 
captor, either fighting or wounded, on the field or in the hospital, by individual surrender or by capitulation 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


All soldiers, of whatever species of arms; all men who belong to the rising en masse of the hostile country, all those who are attached 
to the Anr^f for its elEciency and promote direct^ the object of the war, except such as are hereinafter provided for; all disabled men or 
officers on the field or elsewhere, if captured; all enemies who have thrown away their arms and ask for quarter, are prisoners of war, and 
as such exposed to flie inconveniences as well as entitled to the privileges of a prisoner of war. 

50. Moreover, citizens who accompany an army for whatever purpose, such as sutlers, editors, or reporters of journals, or 
contractors, if captured, nBy be made prisoners of war and be detained as such. 

The monarch and merrbers of the hostile reigning fimify, male or femate, the cMeiJ and chief officers of the hostile government, its 
diplomatic agents, and all persons who arc of particular and singular use and benefit to the hostile arrry or its government, are, if captured 
on belligerent ground, and if unprovided with a safe-conduct granted by the captor's government, prisoners of war. 

5 1 . If the people of that portion of an invaded country which is rwt yet occupied by the enen^^, or of the wtob country, at the 
approach of a hostile amr/, rise, under a duty authorized levy, en masse to resist the invader, they are now treated as public enemies, and, if 
captured, are prisoners of war. 

52. No belligerent has the right to declare that he will treat every captured man in arms of a fevy en masse as a brigand or bandit. 

11^ however, the people of a country, or any portion of the same, already occipied by an amy, rise against it, they are violators of the 
laws of war and are not entitled to their protection 

53. The enen^'s chaplains, officers of the medical stafl^ apothecaries, hospital nurses, and servants, iftheyM into the hands of the 
American Arn^^, are not prisoners of war, unless the commander has reasons to retain them In this latter case, or ilj at their own desire, 
they are aBowed to rerrain with their captured conpanions, they are treated as prisoners of war, and may be exchan^d if the comnander 
sees fit. 

54. A hostage is a person accepted as a pledge for the fiilfillment of an agreement corx;luded between belligerents during the war, or in 
consequence of a war. Hostages are rare in the present age. 

55. If a hosta^ is accepted, he is treated like a prisoner of war, according to rank and condition, as circumstances may admit. 

56. A prisoner of war is subject to m punishment for being a public enerry, nor is any reven^ wreaked upon him by the intentional 
infliction of ary suflfering, or disgrace, by cruel imprisonment, want of food, by nutilation, death, or any other barbarity. 

57. So soon as a man is armed by a sovereign gjvemment and takes the soldier's oath of fidelity he is a beffigerent; his lolling, 
wounding, or other warlike acts are no individual crimes or offenses. No belligerent has a right to declare that enemies of a certain class, 
cobr, or condition, when property organized as soldiers, will not be treated by him as public enemies. 

58. The law of nations knows of no distinction of cobr, and if an eneny of the United States should enslave and sell any captured 
persons of their Amy, it would be a case for the severest retaHation, if rx)t redressed upon complaint 

The United States cannot retaliate by enslavement; therefore death must be the retaliation for this crime a^inst the law of nations. 

59. A prisoner of war remains answerable for his crimes committed against the captor's amy or people, cormiitted before he was 
captured, and for which he has not been punished by his own authorities. 

AH prisoners of war are liable to the infliction of retaliatory measures. 

60. It is against the usagp of modem war to resolve, in hatred and revengp, to give rx) quarter. No body of troops has the right to 
declare that it will not give, and therefore will voi expect, quarter, but a comnander is permitted to direct his troops to give vo quarter, in 
great straits, when his own salvation makes it inpossiblc to currfcer himself with prisoners. 

6 1 . Troops that give no quarter have no right to kill enemies already disabled on the ground, or prisoners captured by other troops. 

62. All troops of the cncny known or discovered to give no quarter in general, or to any portion of the Amy, receive none. 

63 . Troops who fight in the uniform of their enemies, without aiy plain, striking, and uniform mark of distinction of their own, can 
expect no quarter. 

64. If American troops capture a train containing uniforms of the eneny, and the commander considers it advisable to distribute them 
for use among his men, some striking mark or sign rrust be adopted to distinguish the American soldier fi-omthe eneny. 

65 . The use of the eneny's national standard, flag, or other enblem of nationality, for the purpose of deceiving flie eneny in battle, is 
an act of perfidy by which they lose all claim to the protection of the laws of war. 

66. Quarter having been given to an eneny by American troops, under a misapprehensbn of his true character, he may, nevertheless, 
be ordered to suifer death itj within three days afler the battle, it be discovered that he belongs to a corps which gives no quarter. 

67. The law of nations allows every sovereign government to make war upon anotlicr sovereign State, and, therefore, admits of no 
rules or laws diflferent fi^om those of regular warfare, regarding the treatment of prisoners of war, althon^ they may belong to the amy of a 
government wiich the captor may consider as a wanton and urijust assailant. 

68. Modem wars are not internecine wars, in which the killing of the eneny is the object. The destruction of the eneny in modem war, 
and, indeed, modem war itself are means to obtain that object of the belligerent which lies beyond the war. 

Unnecessary or revengefii destixiction of life is not lawfii 

69. Oulposts, sentinels, or pickets are not to be fired upon, except to drive them in, or wlien a positive order, special or gpneral, has 
been issued to that effect 

70. The use of poison in any manner, be it to poison wells, or food, or arms, is wtolty excluded fiwmmodem warSre. He that uses it 
puts himself out of the pale of the law and usages of war. 

7 1 . Whoever intentional^ inflicts additional wounds on an eneny already wholty disabled, or kills such an eneny, or who orders or 
encourages soldiers to do so, shall suffer death, if duty convicted, whether he belongs to the Amy of the United States, or is an eneny 
captured afler having committed his misdeed. 

72. Money and other valuabfes on the pereon of a prisoner, such as watches or jewelry, as well as extra cbthing, are regarded by the 
American Amy as the private property of the prisoner, and the appropriation of such valuabfes or money is considered dishonorabfe, and is 

Nevertheless, if large sums are found upon the persons of prisoners, or in their possession, they shall be taken fi^om them, and the 
surplus, afler providing for their own support, appropriated for the use of the Amy, under the direction of the commander, unless otherwise 
ordered by the Government. Nor can prisoners claim, as private property, large sums found and captured in their train, althou^ they have 
been placed in the private lu^gp of the prisoners. 

73 . All officers, when captured, nust surrender their side- arms to the captor. They may be restored to the prisoner in marked cases, 
by flie commander, to signalize admiration of his distinguished bravery, or approbation of his humane treatment of prisoners before his 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


capture. The captured ofiBcer to whom they may be restored cannot wear them during captivity. 

74. A prisoner of war, being a public eneny, is the prisoner of the Government and not of the captor. No ransom can be paid by a 
prisoner of war to his individual captor, or to any oi&er in comtiHnd. The Government abne releases captives, according to rules 
prescribed by itself 

75. Prisoners of war are subject to confinement or imprisonment such as may be deemed necessary on account of safety, but they are 
to be subjected to no other intentional suffering or indigpity. The confinement and mode of treating a prisoner rray be varied during his 
captivity according to the demands of safety. 

76. Prisoners of war shall be fed upon plain and wholesome food, whenever practicable, and treated with humanity. 
They may be required to work for the beneiit of the captor's government, according to their rank and corxiitioa 

77. A prisoner of war vAio escapes may be shot, or otherwise killed, in his flight; but neither death iwr any other punishment shall be 
inflicted upon him sinp^ for his attempt to escape, winch the law of war does rmt consider a crime. Stricter means of security shall be used 
after an unsuccessfid attempt at escape. 

11^ however, a conspiracy is discovered, the purpose of which is a united or gpneral escape, the conspirators may be rigorous^ 
punished, even with death; atxi capital punishment may also be inflicted upon prisoners of war discovered to have pbtted rebelHon against 
the authorities of the captors, whether in urrion with fellow-prisoners or other persons. 

78 . If prisoners of war, having given no pled^ nor made any promise on their hoiwr, forcibly or otherwise escape, and are captured 
again in battle, after having rejoined their own amy, they shall not be punished for their escape, but shall be treated as sinpb prisoners of 
war, although they will be subjected to stricter confinement 

79. Every captured wounded enerry shall be medicalfy treated, according to the ability of the medical stall 

80. Hormrable men, when captured, will abstain fi-om giviiig to the enen^' information corxieming their own amy, and the modem law 
of war permits no bnger the use of any vblence against prisoners in order to extort the desired information, or to punish them for having 
given felse informatioa 

smimw.— Partisans— Armed enemies not belonging to the hostile amy—Scouts—Armed prowlers— War-rebek. 

8 1 . Partisans are soldiers armed and wearing the uniform of their amy, but bebnging to a corps wiiich acts detached fiiomthe main 
body for the purpose of making inroads into the territory occipied by the eneny. If captured they are entitled to all the privileges of the 
prisoner of war. 

82. Men, or squads of men, who commit hostilities, whether by lifting, or inroads for destruction or plunder, or by raids of any kind, 
without commissbn, without being part and portion of the organized hostile amy, and without sharing continuous^ in the war, but wto do 
so with intermitting returns to their homes and avocations, or with the occasbnal assunption of the serrblance of peaceM pursuits, divesting 
themselves of the character or appearance of soldiers- - such men, or squads of men, are txit public enemies, and therefore, if captured, are 
not entitled to the privileges of prisoners of war, but shall be treated sunmarify as highway robbers or pirates. 

83. Scouts or single soldiers, if disguised in the dress offtie country, or in the uniform of the amy hostile to their own, enployed in 
obtaining information, if found within or lurking about the lines of the captor, arc treated as spies, and suffer death. 

84. Armed prowlers, by whatever names they may be cafled, or persons of the eneny's territory, who steal within the lines of the 
hostile amy for the purpose of robbing, killing, or of destroying brides, roads, or canals, or of robbing or destroying the mail, or of cutting 
the telegraph wires, are not entitled to the privileges of the prisoner of war. 

85. War-rebels are persons within an occupied territory who rise in arms against the occupying or conquering amy, or against the 
authorities established by the same. If captured, they may suffer death, wtether they rise sin^, in small or lar^ bands, and wtefher called 
upon to do so by their own, but expelled, government or not. They are not prisoners of war; nor are they if discovered and secured before 
their conspiracy has matured to an actual rising or to armed violence. 

SECTVMY.— Safe-conduct— Spies— War-traitors— Captured messengers-Abuse of the flag of truce. 

86. All intercourse between the territories occipied by belligerent armies, whether by traffic, by letter, by travel, or in aiy other way, 
ceases. This is the ^neralrule, to be observed without special proclamation 

Exceptions to this rule, whether by safe-conduct or permission to trade on a small or large scale, or by exchanging mails, or by travel 
from one territory into the other, can take place onfy according to agreement approved by the Government or by the hi^st military 

Contraventions of this rule are hi^% punishable. 

87. Arrbassadors, and all other diplomatic agents of neutral powers accredited to the enerry may receive safe-corxlucts through the 
territories occupied by the belligerents, unless there are military reasons to the contrary, and unless they may reach the place of their 
destination convenient^ by another route. It implies no international affiant if the safe-conduct is declined. Such passes are usualfy given by 
the supreme authority of the state and not by subordinate officers. 

88. A spy is a person who secret^, in disguise or under felse pretense, seeks information with the intention of cormxinicating it to the 

The spy is punishable with death by hanging by the neck, whether or not he succeed in obtaining the information or in conveying it to 
the eneny. 

89. If a citizen of the United States obtains information in a legitimate manner and betrays it to the eneny, be he a military or civil 
officer, or a private citizen, he shall sufe death 

90. A traitor under the law of war, or a war- traitor, is a person in a place or district under martial law who, unauthorized by the 
military commander, gives information of any kind to the eneny, or holds intercourse with him 

9 1 . The war- traitor is always severe^ punished. If his offense consists in betraying to the eneny anything concerning the coixlition, 
safety, operations, or plans of the troops holding or occupying the place or district, his punishment is death. 

92. If the citizen or subject of a country or place invaded or corxjuered gives information to his own government, fi-om which he is 
separated by the hostile amy, or to the amy oflns government, he is a war- traitor, and death is the penalty of his offense. 

93 . AH armies in the field stand in need of guides, and impress them if they cannot obtain them otherwise. 

94. No person having been forced by the eneny to serve as guide is punishable for having done so. 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


95. If a citizen of a hostile and invaded distixt voluntai% serves as a guide to the eneny, or offers to do so, he is deemed a war- 
traitor and shall suffer death. 

96. A citizen serving voluntarify as a guide a^inst his own country conmits treason, and will be dealt with according to the law ofhis 

97. Guides, v^iien it is clearfy proved that they have misled intentional^, may be put to death. 

98. All unautimrized or secret cortnunication with the enerry is considered treasonable by the law of war. 

Foreign residents in an invaded or occupied territory or foreign visitors in ftie same can claim no inirunity fiomthis law. Ihey may 
comnunicate with foreign parts or with the inhabitants of the hostile country, so iar as the military authority permits, but no further. Instant 
expulsion from the occipied territory would be the very least punishment for the infraction of this rule. 

99. A messenger carrying written dispatches or verbal messa^s from one portion of the amy or from a besieged place to another 
portion of the same amr/ or its government, if armed, and in the uniform ofhis amy, and if captured while doing so in the territory occupied 
by the eneny, is treated by the captor as a prisoner of war. If not in uniform nor a soldier, the circumstances connected with his capture 
mist determine the disposition that shall be made of him 

1 00. A messen^r or a^nt who attempts to steal through the territory occupied by the eneny to further in any manner the interests of 
the enerry, if captured, is not entitled to the privile^s of the prisoner of war, and may be dealt wifli according to the circumstances of the 

101. While deception in war is admitted as a just and necessary means of hostility, and is consistent with honorable warfare, the 
common law of war allows even capital punishment for clandestine or treacherous attempts to injure an eneny, because they are so 
dangerous, and it is so ditEcuk to guard a^inst them 

1 02. The law of war, like the criminal law regarding other offenses, makes no difference on account of the difference of sexes, 
concerning the spy, the war- traitor, or the war-rebeL 

1 03 . Spies, war- traitors, and war- rebels are not exchanged according to the common law of war. The exchan^ of such persons 
would require a special cartel, aufl]orized by the Government, or, at a great distance from it, by the chief commander of the amy in the 

1 04. A successfiil spy or war- traitor, safety retumed to his own amy, and afterward captured as an eneny, is not subject to 
punishment for his acts as a spy or war- traitor, but he may be heU in closer custody as a person individual^ dan^rous. 

SECTION VL—firc/zaKge of prisoners—Flags of truce—Flags of protection. 

105. Iixchangps of prisoners take place— nurrber for nurrber— rank for rank—wounded for wounded— with added condition for added 
condition— such, for instance, as not to serve for a certain period. 

106. In exchangng prisoners of war, such nurrbers of persons of inferior rank may be substituted as an equivalent for one of superior 
rank as may be agreed ipon by cartel, wiiich requires the sanction of the Government, or of the commander of the amy in the field. 

1 07. A prisoner of war is in honor bound truty to state to the captor his rank; and he is not to assume a bwer rank than belong to 
him, in order to cause a more advantageoas exchange, nor a higher rank, for tix purpose of obtaining better treatment. 

Offenses to the contrary have been justty punished by the commanders of released prisoners, and may be good cause for refusing to 
release such prisoners. 

108. The surplus number of prisoners of war remaining after an exchange lias taken place is sometimes released either for the payment 
of a stipulated sum of money, or, in urgpnt cases, of provision, cbthing, or other necessaries. 

Such arrangement, however, requires the sanction of the highest authority. 

1 09. The exchange of prisoners of war is an act of convenience to both belgerents. If no gpneral cartel has been concluded, it cannot 
be demanded by either of them No belligerent is obliged to exchan^ prisoners of war. 

A cartel is voidable as soon as either party has vblated it. 

1 1 0. No exchange of prisoners shall be made except after conpfete capture, and afier an accurate account of thern, and a list of the 
captured ofiicers, has been taken 

111. The bearer of a flag of truce cannot insist upon being admitted. He nust always be admitted with great cautioa Unnecessaiy 
frequency is carefulty to be avoided. 

1 1 2. If the bearer of a flag of truce offer himself during an eng^^ment, he can be admitted as a very rare exception onty. It is no 
breach of good faith to retain such flag of truce, if admitted during the en^gement. Firing is not required to cease on the appearance of a 
flag of truce in battle. 

113. If the bearer of a flag of truce, presenting himself during an enga^ment, is killed or wounded, it fiimishes no ground of complaint 


114. If it be discovered, and fairty proved, that a flag of truce has been abused for surreptitious^ obtaining military knowledge, the 
bearer of the flag thus abusing his sacred character is deemed a spy. 

So sacred is the character of a flag of tmce, and so necessary is its sacredness, that while its abuse is an especial^ heinous offense, 
great caution is requisite, on tix otixr hand, in convicting the bearer of a flag of truce as a spy. 

1 1 5 . It is customary to designate by certain flags (usualfy yelow) the hospitals in places which are shelled, so that the besieging eneny 
may avoid firing on them The same has been done in battles wten hospitals are situated within the field of the enga^ment. 

116. Honorabfe belligerents ofien request that the hospitals within the territory of the eneny may be designated, so that tixy may be 

An honorable belligerent aDows himself to be guided by flagg or signals of protection as rtuch as the contingencies and the necessities 
of the fi^ will permit 

1 1 7. It is justly considered an act of bad faith, of infany or fiendishness, to deceive the eneny by flags of protection Such act of bad 
faith may be good cause for refusing to respect such flags. 

118. The besieging beDi^rent has sometimes requested the besie^ to designate the buildings containing collections of works of art, 
scientific roBeums, astronomical observatories, or precbus libraries, so that their deshxiction may be avoided as nuch as possible. 

SECTION vu—TTje parole. 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


1 19. Prisoners of war may be released fromcaptiviy by exchange, and, under certain circumstances, also by parole. 

120. Hie termparofe designates the pledge of individual good Mh and honor to do, or to omit doing, certain acts afier he wlm gives 
his parole shall have been dismissed, wholfy or partialb>', from the power of the captor. 

121. The pled^ of the parole is always an individual, but not a private act. 

1 22. The parole applies chie% to prisoners of war whom the captor aDows to return to their country, or to live in greater freedom 
within the captor's country or territory, on conditions stated in the parole. 

123. Release of prisoners of war by exchangp is the gpneral rule; release by parole is the exceptioa 

1 24. Breaking the parole is punished with death wten the person breaking the parole is captured a^ia 
Accurate lists, thereibre, of the paroled persons nxist be kept by the belligerents. 

125. When paroles are given and received there nust be an exchange oftwo written documents, in which the name and rank of the 
paroled individuals are accurate^ and truthfiilly stated. 

126. Commissbned oflicers on^ are albwed to give their parole, and they can give it on^ with the permission of their superior, as 
bng as a superior in rank is within reach. 

127. No non-commissioned officer or private can give his parole except through an officer. Individual parobs not given throu^ an 
officer are not oriy void, but subject the irxlividuals giving them to the punishment of death as deserters. The on^ admissibb exception is 
where individuals, property separated fix)m their comnands, have suffered bng confinement without the possibility ofbeingparobd through 
an officer. 

128. No paroling on the battle-field; no paroling of entire bodies of troops afier a battle; and no dismissal of lar^ numbers of 
prisoners, with a general declaration that they are paroled, is permitted, or of any value. 

129. In capitulations ibr the surrender of strong places or fcrtified canps the commanding ofScer, in cases of urgpnt necessity, may 
agree that the troops under his contnand shall not fi^t a^in during the war unbss exchanged. 

130. The usual pledge given in the parole is not to serve during the existing war unless exchan^d. 

Hiis pbd^ refers oriy to the active service in the field ag9inst the paroling belligerent or his ales active^ engaged in the same war. 
These cases of breaking the parofe are patent acts, and can be visited with the punishment of death; but the pbdge does not refer to internal 
service, such as recruiting or drilling the recruits, ibrtifying places not besie^d, quelling civil commotions, fi^iting a^inst belli^rents 
unconnected with the paroling belli^rents, or to civil or diplomatic service for whbh the paroled ofiBcer may be employed. 

1 3 1 . If the government does rx)t approve of the parob, the parobd oflScer rmst return into captivity, and should the enen^^ refiise to 
receive him he is free of his parole. 

1 32. A belligerent government may declare, by a general order, whether it will allow paroling and on what conditions it will allow it. 
Such order is comrrunicated to the enen^. 

133. No prisoner of war can be forced by the hostib government to parole himselij and no government is obliged to parob prisoners 
of war or to parob all captured officers, if it parobs aiiy. As the pledging of the parob is an individual act, so is paroling, on the other hand, 
an act of choice on the part of the belligerenL 

134. The commander ofan occupying amy may require of the civil oflScers oftheenerr^^, and of its citizens, any pledge he may 
consider necessary for the safety or security of his arm/, and upon their feibre to give it he may arrest, confine, or detain them 

SECT ION viii. - -Armistice— Capitulation. 

135. An armistice is the cessation of active hostilities for a period agreed between belligerents. It rmst be agreed upon in writing and 
duty ratified by the highest authorities of the contending parties. 

1 36. If an armistice be declared without conditions it extends no fijrther than to require a total cessation of hostilities abng the fiiont of 

If conditions be agreed ipon, they should be cbarty expressed, and rmst be rigidty adhered to by both parties. If either party vblates 
any express condition, the armistice may be declared null and void by the other. 

1 37. An armistice may be general, and valid for all points and lines of the belligerents; or special— that is, referring to certain troops or 
certain localities onty. An armistice riBy be concluded for a definite time; or for an indefinite time, during whbh either belligerent may resume 
hostiMtbs on giving the iwtice agreed upon to the other. 

138. The motives w4ibh induce the one or the other beDi^rent to conclude an armistice, wliether it be e^qiected to be preliminary to a 
treaty of peace, or to prepare during the armistice for a more vigorous prosecution of the war, does in no way aflEect the character of the 
armistice itself 

1 39. An armistice is binding upon the belligerents fix)m flie day of the agreed commencement; but the officers of the armbs are 
responsible from the day onty when tiiey receive official infomiation of its existence. 

140. Commanding officers have the ri^ to conclude armistices binding on the district over whbh their command extends, but such 
armistice is subject to the ratification of the superior authority, and ceases so soon as it is made known to the eneny that the armistice is not 
ratified, even if a certain time for the elapsing between giving notice of cessation and the resumption of hostilities should have been stpulated 

1 4 1 . It is incurtbent upon the cortacting parties of an armistice to stipulate wiiat intercourse of persons or traffic between the 
inhabitants of the territories occupied by the hostile armies shall be allowed, if any. 

If nothing is stipulated the intercourse remains suspended, as during actual hostilities. 

142. An armistice is rx)t a partial or a temporary peace; it is onty the suspensbn of militaiy operations to the extent agreed upon by the 

143. When an armistice is concluded between a fortified place and the amr/ besieging it, it is agreed by all the authorities on this 
subject that the besieger rrust cease all extension, perfection, or advance of his attacking works as mjch so as from attacks by main force. 

But as there is a difierence of opinbn among martial jurists whether the besbged have a ri^ to repair breaches or to erect new works 
of defense within the place during an armistice, this point should be determined by express agreement between the parties. 

144. So soon as a capitulation is sigaed the capitulator has no ri^ to demolish, destroy, or injure the works, arms, stores, or 
anxrunition in his possessbn, during the time which elapses between the signing and the execution of the capitulation, unbss otherwise 
stipulated in the same. 


The Lieber Code Of 1863 


145. When an armistice is clearly broken by one of the parties the other party is released from all obK^tion to observe it. 

146. Prisoners taken in the act of breaking an armistice must be treated as prisoners of war, the officer alone being responsible who 
gives the order for such a violation of an armistice. The highest authority of the belli^rent a^rieved may demand redress for the infraction 
of an amistice. 

147. Belli^rents sometimes conclude an armistice while their plenipotentiaries are met to discuss the conditions of a treaty of peace; 
but plenipotentiaries may meet without a preliminary amiistice; in the latter case the war is carried on without any abatement. 

SECTION a.— Assassination. 

148. The law of war does not albw proclaiming either an individual belonging to the hostile am^, or a citizen, or a subject of the 
hostile government an outlaw, who may be slain without trial by any captor, any more than the modem law of peace allows such 
international outlawry; on the contrary, it abhors such outra^. The sternest retaliation should follow the rrurder committed in consequence 
of such proclamation, made by whatever authority. Civilized nations look with horror upon offers of rewards for the assassination of 
enemies as relapses into barbarism 

SBcnoNX— Insurrection— Civil war— Rebellion. 

1 49. Insurrection is the rising of people in arms a^inst their government, or portion of it, or a^inst one or more of its laws, or agsinst 
an officer or officers of the government. It may be confined to mere anxed resistance, or it may have greater ends in view. 

150. Civil war is war between two or more portions of a country or state, each contending for the imstery of the whole, and each 
claiming to be the legitimate government. The term is also sometimes applied to war ofrebelfon, when the rebellious provinces or portions 
of the state are contiguous to those containing the seat of gjvemment. 

151. The term rebellion is applied to an insurrection of large extent, and is usuaify a war between the legitimate gjvemment of a 
country and portions of provinces of the same who seek to throw off their allegiance to it and set up a govermtEnt of their own 

1 52. When humanity induces the adoption of the rules of regular war toward rebels, whether the adoption is partial or entire, it does in 
no way whatever imply a partial or coitplete acknowledgment of their government, if they have set up one, or of them, as an independent or 
sovereign power. Neutrals have no right to make the adoption of the rules of war by the assailed gjvemiTient toward rebels the ground of 
their own acknowledgment of the revolted people as an independent power. 

153. Treating captured rebels as prisoners of war, exchanging them, concluding of cartels, capitulations, or other warlike agreements 
with them; addressing officers of a rebel arm/ by the rank they may have in the same; accepting flags of truce; or, on the other hand, 
proclaining martial law in their territory, or levying war taxes or forced loans, or doing any other act sanctioned or demanded by the law 
and usages of public war between sovereign beDi^rents, neither proves nor establishes an acknowledgment of the rebellious people, or of 
the government which they may have erected, as a public or sovereign power. Nor does the adoption of the rules of war toward rebels 
inrpfy an en^^ment with them extending beyond the limits of these rules. It is victory in the field that ends the strife and settles the fiiture 
relations between the contending parties. 

1 54. Treating in the field the rebellious enerr^ according to the law and usa^s of war has never prevented the legitimate gjvemment 
from trying the leaders of the rebelon or chief rebels for hi^ treason, and from treating them accordingly, unless they are included in a 
^neral amnesty. 

1 55. All enenies in regular war are divided into two general classes— that is to say, into coifbatants and non-corrbatants, or unarmed 
citizens of the hostile gjvemment. 

The military commander of the legitimate government, in a war of rebellion, distinguishes between the loyal citizen in the revolted 
portion of the country and the disloyal citizen The disloyal citizens may fijrther be classified into those citizens known to sympathize with the 
rebellion without positively aiding it, and those vAx), without taking up arms, give positive aid and comfort to the rebellious enerry without 
being bodily forced thereto. 

156. Common justice and plain expediency require that the military commander protect the marrifestfy loyal citizens in revolted 
territories a^inst the hardships of the war as much as the comTcn iTiisfortune of all war admits. 

The commander will throw the burden of the war, as much as lies within his power, on the disloyal citizens, of the revolted portion or 
province, subjecting them to a stricter police than the non-corrbatant enemies have to suffer in regular war; and if he deems it appropriate, 
or if his gjvemment demands of him that every citizen shall, by an oath of allegiance, or by some other manifest act, declare his fidelity to 
the legitimate government, he may expel, transfer, imprison, or fine the revolted citizens who refuse to pled^ themselves anew as citizens 
obedient to the law and loyal to the gjvemment. 

Whether it is expedient to do so, and whether reliance can be placed upon such oaths, the conmander or his government have the 
right to decide. 

157. Armed or unarmed resistance by citizens of the United Slates against the lawful movements of their troops is levying war a^inst 
the United Slates, and is therefore treason 

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